Friday, June 13, 2014

"the dishes will always be there..."

the after-effects of "spiderman ice cream" on the tongue (i was also informed this morning that it makes "green poop")

if you're on facebook at all, i'm sure you've seen a ton of those little, witty quotes typeset in boxes, sometimes with the little vintage illustrations? yeah? well, there are a specific bunch that always drive me bonkers, the ones that have sayings to the tune of "the dirty dishes will still be there, your kids won't." arrgh. 
as if i don't have enough guilt while working from home (and letting my kids watch a few too many episodes of power rangers), or for taking the time to peruse facebook (and instagram, oh instragram how i adore thee) while the kids are scarfing down their meals, now i have to feel guilty for cleaning? that's just...crazy talk. seriously.
it's not like i'm little miss clean-y pants with my spotless house that i don't let anyone make messes in. on the contrary, the kids are constantly eating "meals on the go" as they run around the house spreading crumbs like a plague. but once they're done (okay, maybe a few days later, that's AFTER), yeah, i totally go around with my broom and dustpan and do my best to, at the very least, keep the house from being a total shambles (also, we have an ant problem, and double also, i hate the feeling of dirt stuck to the bottoms of my feet).
so to those who post all that kind of nonsense about my kids are growing up and i should be enjoying them, thanks for the reminder to appreciate my kids, BUT (and this is a big, fat but) i think my kids are learning at least two valuable lessons from seeing me tiding up around the house (yes, despite the look of it, i actually do clean):
1) everyone has responsibilities. when i'm doing dishes (or laundry, or sweeping the floor, or putting things away), i hope my kids don't see that as "gee, mom really likes to clean. look at her go!", but that people (grown-ups and kids) have to do a lot of things that aren't fun, but that need doing. laundry is not my greatest joy, vacuuming toast crumbs out of the living room rug is not my definition of a good time, but like a lot of things in life, they need to be done. and though it looks like a small thing (though you should have SEEN the dirt that came out of the rug by the side door, it was impressive, people), if all these small, boring things didn't get done, the house would soon be a much less pleasant place to wreak havoc.
2) sometimes we need to be patient. i totally want my kids to know that they're important to me, much more important than things (like the walls they keep trying to put holes in), but to a certain degree they need to realize that life isn't all about them. sometimes i need them to color by themselves or push the pause button on the thirteenth diatribe about power rangers ("but not jungle fury power rangers, but the other kind, and i'm the gold one and my friend is the green one..."), because sometimes, just sometimes, other things need to be my priority. 
and this is where those those sayings about "the dishes will always be there..." really get to me, because, yes, the dishes WILL be there, and heck if i'm going to take space out of the two hours after the kids go to bed that i get for "my own" to do that kind of stuff. no way. most of the time that's dedicated to working on freelance anyway, so it's already taken, yo. so thanks for the guilt. thanks for the reminders about childhood is fleeting (yes, i know that, and that's why i spend an extra ten minutes after lu falls asleep to hold her and give her a few kisses on her "only little once" cheeks), but i can't always let the passage of time be like some rabid beast chasing me into stressing that i'm missing every precious moment. not all moments are precious, or at least, not all moments need to be witnessed and appreciated by me to be precious. stop trying to make me crazy. unless you haven't noticed, i'm already there.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

project sam—a quick, or perhaps lengthy, update

it's hard to know exactly what to say about sam, there's really so much to say. so much. really, there's too much. sam is sometimes just too much. too awesome, too exasperating. just generally a lot. (as you can see in the video, sam is an instigator of loud and silly, and lucy reaps the benefits regularly.)

things that sam is really into doing as of now: 
- making stuff. we have so many papers and things sitting around the house that sam has made that it's completely ridiculous. not only does he bring creations home from school, but i think it the last four months or so he's gone through at least a ream of paper (most of which mike pulled from the recycle bin at work) making all kinds of things for everyone. some of the things are given away to friends, but lots seem to have accumulated all over the house. sometimes i wish i could keep everything, but most of the time i feel a little drowned in all of his artwork. a few examples of sam's prolific creativity:
 the strawberry gum drawing for his friend in honor of the fact that his friend had given him a piece of gum

 illustration of a glass of water

photo of sam with a tie bomber (or perhaps a tie interceptor) that he crafted in honor of mike's birthday

i should also mention that sam is also a bit of a creativity instigator at school, which has resulted in a proliferation of artwork sent home for the express purpose of being given to lucy. i can think of at least three friends who have made things to come home to lucy. this is enough of a thing that sam's teacher has mentioned it multiple times in his daily reports!

- the new friends. sam recently discovered that over the long, cold winter two boys have moved into the house that backs on to our newly purchased empty lot. the boys (ages six and four) have quickly become his reason for getting up in the morning (or at the very least, a reason to put on clothes). and though i'm really glad that sam now has playmates in close proximity, it also means that there is a lot of distress when the new friends aren't able to play (or we have plans that would conflict with playtime). hopefully the fact that his friends will "still be there tomorrow" will soon take hold, and the fact that they're not together all the time won't be such a cause for alarm.

- riding his bike. we recently came into possession of a hand-me-down bike with training wheels. it was a long time in coming, as sam was loathe to be too grown for his beloved big wheel, but he could no longer pedal in comfort, as his knees were constantly bumping into the handlebars. 
we were really lucky that there was a bike to be handed down, and though there were a few issues at the outset, he's become quite fond of pedaling up and down the driveway and on short walks to the playground. there have been several excited exclamations about him being able to ride his bike to school next year. which means a) we're going to have to build some time into our commute to school come fall, and b) we either have to get sam a bike lock, or i need to figure out how i'm going to get lucy and a bike home from school each day.

- and speaking of school. wednesday will be sam's last day of preschool. i think this year of preschool has been about the best as i could have imagined. sam has made several really good friends, and has learned a lot. we're looking forward to attending his open house this tuesday. at the conference with his teacher, i got a sneak peek of his journal that he's been talking about all year. it is definitely something for the "keepsake box". his teacher was specifically impressed with the "detail" in his drawings, and it was interesting to hear about sam from her perspective.

- writing. for the past couple months sam has been working on sounding out words and writing things down. he's still not all that interested in reading books, but he does enjoy sitting down and trying to write out things that he's drawing or are of particular interest to him (mostly making books dedicated to the different kinds of star wars ships). one of these days i hope he'll find reading to be of more interest, but his teacher said that doing things this way works too, and at this point not to put a lot of pressure on him. still, i'm working on encouraging him in any way possible.

- t-ball. we signed sam up to play t-ball this summer. right now we're struggling with the fact that games and practices take away from "hanging out with neighbors" time, but i'm really hoping he'll warm up to it a little bit more as the summer goes on. once he's there, i think he's generally glad to be out with other kids, but the fact that some of the kids have more skill than he does right now is frustrating for him. i'm also hoping that he'll realize that sometimes just doing your best and having fun is good enough and not everything has to be about winning and being the best. that lesson is a hard one, even for grown-ups.

back at it—the new addition

after a little break (or a big break, whatever, let's not judge), i've decided that i really need to make time for doing this blog thing. not because anyone out in the world really needs to read my ramblings, but because i need to put them here. 
i've totally realized that i miss having a spot to go back and look at what was going on in our family life, what the kids were up to, what kind of projects i was working on (or more likely, that sam was working on), etc. i missed all that stuff and nonsense. i also realized that a lot of times, i was trying to compose blog posts in my head, but was never making the time to put them somewhere for keeps. they need to be somewhere for keeps. i need this.
so, i might as well get back to it. even in my regularly irregular way. because it's okay to be messy, particularly if all this is supposed to be a reflection of myself and what life is like right now, it's messy and cluttered. but it's also good, and totally worth remembering.
it's all okay. it'll be okay. and let's get on with it, already.

to start off with, last friday we finally signed the platt and paid for the empty lot on the south side of our house. right now it's basically a big patch of weeds with two large trees in it, but we've basically just doubled the size of our property. it seemed like it took forever to get to this point (lots of submitting of papers to the city, lots of waiting, needing to get surveys done, and mike attending several city planning meetings of one kind and another). but now it's basically ours, and we can get on with the actual, physical doing involved.
step one is going to be getting the trees checked out and having two trees removed from the back property line. i've always been a little wary of the big trees on the lot for the simple reason that they seemed to be constantly dropping large branches all over the place, and since i've never in my life been responsible for a large tree (or really anything bigger than a shrub), i assumed this wasn't exactly a good sign. so mike contacted a company that's going to check and trim the trees, and hopefully will determine that they're sound enough to leave in place. the trees at the back of the property seem to be fine, but they're right on the property line, and so are an issue when it comes to the fence we want to build around our new, bigger yard. once we have our tree issues resolved, we'll move on to step two, (hopefully) regrading.

Friday, October 18, 2013

sometimes words are more than i can handle

i've been working on a post about some exciting news, but finding the words is more than i can seem to handle right now. so i'm posting some photos of what we've been up to lately (and some captions, because i guess i have enough words for that). 
 about a week and a half ago lucy started walking for real. she still seems to prefer crawling most of the time because she's still unsteady on her feet (and her crawl is a lot faster), but she definitely can go around on her own two feet without assistance. 
 sam has been working on his list of sight words, and has them pretty firmly under his belt (though he occasionally has trouble with short a and short i words, like "it" and "at" or "in" and "an"). since he was able to do most of the words on his flashcards, i started to string them together into short sentences for him to read. these are a few he was able to do. i'm hoping he'll realize that reading isn't too far from his grasp, though i'm not sure that he's all that interested in reading on his own. perhaps we need different reading materials.
air-popped popcorn is tasty AND entertaining,
 and great for sharing.
 road trip view
and a few of niagara falls through a fence.
 a ride around the state park is a good time to relax.
but sometimes it's better get out and walk.
 perfect weather really makes everything feel grand.
 but the water had places to go and things to do.
 and we got a hitchhiker.
 but then it was over.
 and we drove back home.
 to find that the halloween mask had arrived! brilliant!
 there was a lot of picking up sam from school. and girly time with me and my little moviestar.
who was infatuated with daddy's stack of novels.

Friday, September 27, 2013

life is happening, right here

american dagger moth caterpillar crawling up the side of our house

here it is, nearly october, and it's been ages since anything has been put down in the blog. not a word about lucy's birthday parties (she had two), about me quitting my job (i did, and then i didn't), or about sam's adventures in preschool (he started the tuesday after labor day). so, in an effort to catch up, here are the highlights from the past two months:

lu's second birthday cake + lu successfully avoiding the token "messy first birthday cake" photos by using a fork 
(seriously? what one-year-old does this? mine, apparently.)

- the day after lu's first birthday, we packed up the car and left for the family reunion in minnesota. considering the length of the drive (and the ages of our little people), it was relatively painless. we enjoyed a week of playing and cooking and eating and hanging out (and more partying). the worst part of all that travel was having to leave after a week of reveling in the company of all that family (and easy access to lots and lots of swimming), and having to return to real life.

the view from my new office window, right before i quit

- but that's what we did. on monday after returning from vacation, mike and i headed back to work, leaving the kids in the hands of my very capable (and very tired, because they had also driven home from minnesota) parents. 
when i got to work, i officially gave notice that i would be leaving my job at the end of august. it was really hard for me to throw in the towel after being there for twelve years, but it seemed to be the best option for our family (not having to find a new sitter that would meet all of our requirements and still not cost an arm and a leg was the main consideration, of course). so, notice was given, and I spent the day unpacking my office (they had just relocated me to a better office with a great view *sigh*), and trying to wrap up a few projects that needed to be completed before the end of the month. the next day, my boss called to let me know that my resignation was rejected, and that her boss wanted to know if there was some arrangement we could come up with that would still allow me to work for them. i ended up signing an independent contractor agreement which allows me to work from home ten hours a week and i end up having more take-home pay (even with setting aside money for taxes at the end of the year) than i had when i was working twice as many hours and had to pay for childcare and transportation. i did lose any benefits i had retained when going to part-time, but since we are already paying into mike's benefits, it's not a huge loss. i'm still making out better than i would have if i'd simply gone to stay-at-home status. bonus.
the only hitch to working as a contractor was having to buy my own mac and software, but we figured if it needed to be done to continue working, it needed to be done, and we put down the chunk of change (though we'll easily make up the cost within the first few months of my contract) and bought a mac and software. of course we found out a week later that i was going to get my beloved work computer back (they wouldn't allow my personal computer access to the network, and i had network access written in as part of the contract). i now have two macs on my desk, and have done at least one (paid) project on each, so having spent the money wasn't so bad. huzzah.
i started my contract on september ninth, and have yet to have a ten-hours-only week, but i'm enjoying being home (for the most part), and that i still get to be a "working mom" if only in a very small capacity.

lu and grandparents + sam and mike at the concert (packed tight amongst the sea of concert goers)

- the last weekend in august, we took my parents out to the pixar concert at blossom as belated birthday gifts. it was a great night with good music and the foggiest, most surreal-looking fireworks display i've ever seen. i think john williams would have been more suited to our family (sam knows that music better, particularly star wars), but still, it was a lot of fun.

obligatory first day of school photo

- sam started at the onaway preschool the tuesday after labor day. his teacher, the awesome mrs. k, has sent home good reports so far, and sam seems to really be enjoying his time there and making new friends. we did have one report of too much talking (not surprising), but overall, preschool seems to have been a good decision and sam looks forward to the days he has school.

lucy flipping through her books

- lucy, for her part, is enjoying a little bit of only-child time during the two and a half hours that sam spends at school. most of the time she will play quietly by herself (something she doesn't get to do very often when sam is around), and i'm able to put in an hour or so of work. her two favorite pastimes are looking through her books (it's better if someone reads to her, but she will spend lots of time just looking on her own), and going through the box of hand-me-down shoes that came from cousin alice.
this morning we read our way through a stack of books and would probably have kept going if i hadn't popped some baby einstein in the vcr so that i could go make breakfast. i'm pretty sure that if having a kid that won't let me stop reading to them is my biggest problem, then life is pretty good.
lucy's favorite book right now is "brown bear, brown bear" and we've read it so many times that i can just recite it to her (which lucy thinks is almost as good, and likes that best when she's feeling fussy). i think it's the rhythm that she likes, and we often see her rocking back and forth to the words, but i can also see her mouth trying to imitate what she sees my mouth doing when i say the words. if she finds my recitation fascinating, i find her watching me just as much so.
lucy has also gotten to the point where she is easily cruising around the furniture and seems a bit disappointed when she gets to the end, but not confident enough to try to step out on her own. she can (and frequently does) stand up in the middle of the room without holding on to anything, and she can sway and dance and bop there before sitting down (or more likely plopping down) on her bottom.
she is obsessed with babies, and any book that has a baby in it. since baby is one of her few words, she uses it frequently for things that are clearly not babies (like daddy, for instance). she also enjoys giving lots (and lots) of kisses (which i find incredibly endearing, to say the least).
her new word for today was "stinky", which she heard sam say and then kept trying to repeat over and over. she can also say "taco" and "apple" quite well.

so that, basically, is the wrap-up of the last month and a half (or so). we're looking forward to october (though i'm getting anxious about the impending halloween costume making part of the month—ack!) and the candy corn it will bring. we have a few adventures on the horizon, and hopefully there will be more (timely) updates in the near future.

sam in goggles (because, when all is said and done, who doesn't enjoy a photo of a kid in ridiculously over-sized goggles?)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

project lucy—12 months

things i want to remember about one-year-old lucy:
- she will eat a mountain of peas or green beans while waiting for dinner as if it was chocolate chips, or fishy crackers, or grapes. she is my all-star veggie eater and seems to be reinforcing sam's hypothesis that girls eat vegetables and boys eat sausage (except that she eats sausage too).
- she dances to everything (and nothing), and it's awesome. she will also sing if sam is singing, and sometimes for no reason at all.
- she loves stuffed animals, particularly her bear "ed" who gets lots of hugs and kisses on his fuzzy little head.
- she is currently obsessed with babies and loves to point out any "beebees" she sees (this includes sam's ironman action figure and a lego robot that sam made, and sometimes daddy).
- she also enjoys pointing out windows ("dow") and doors ("dow") as well as lights now.
- she also enjoys pointing out daddy (and grandpa).
- i could've sworn she said spongebob today when the tv was on.
- she likes to unload things (toys out of her basket or recycling out of the bin, it doesn't matter), and sometimes she even puts it back when she's done (or at least a little bit).
- she still puts all kinds of crazy stuff in her mouth, but i think she's getting a little better about it, at least, she pauses now if we say "no".
- in the last few weeks since she turned one she's been doing new things by leaps and bounds. she climbs stairs (and the step-stool) with ease and confidence (but she can't get down, so she'll sit and yell until someone comes to the rescue). she will shake her head yes, and make the sign for more, and "peas, peas" in response to my asking "yes, please?" it's kind of adorable.
- she definitely has opinions on things, and she will let us know if things are not happening in the way she wants them to happen (and loudly). 
- she is the perfect person to snuggle up with in the evening, and my favorite person to be out and about with as she is very easy going and enjoys being charming for others.
- and speaking of charming, she crawled up to me today, planted a kiss on my shoulder, and then gave me a mega-watt smile and a hug. she knows how to capture my heart, bigtime.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

my little hero—or how sam saved a damsel in distress

shortly after mike picked the kiddos up from the sitter's yesterday, he messaged me to let me know that sam's good friend tabitha (whom he has been spending his mondays and wednesdays with over the summer) was in the hospital. apparently tabitha had swallowed some small, round magnets that were part of a toy (sam said they looked like gobstoppers). sam, after seeing her swallow one in his presence, immediately went and informed tabitha's mom about what she had done. 
it turns out that tabitha had swallowed a total of 13 magnets over the last few days and without sam's report, no one would have known. we were relieved to hear that she is in good spirits today and that it appears that no permanent damage was done (and i guess those magnets have the potential to do some serious damage). they had to go in with a scope, but it appears that they were able to remove them all, and she is now in recovery.
besides being thankful that tabitha will be fine, i was so glad that sam a) didn't get talked into trying to "taste" any magnets himself, and b) that he knew enough to go and tell an adult what had happened. appropriately, the boy who plays "knights and princess-knights" was able to help rescue his princess-knight friend. my hero!

in other sam news, we had our registration appointment this morning. sam is now an official shaker heights preschool student! we also received his session assignment (he'll be in the afternoon class), and found out his teacher will be mrs. k. there are two pre-preschool events at the end of august, and he will officially start on tuesday, september 3rd!


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